Google has confirmed that it has reached a deal with Fiat Chrysler to build self-driving automobiles together.
Just last week, reports emerged claiming that Google and Fiat Chrysler were in advanced talks over a ‘technical agreement’ to build autonomous cars together.
Now those reports have been confirmed by Google itself.
Over on the Google Self-Driving Car Project Google+ account, a fresh post reveals that Google is adding more vehicles to its autonomous test fleet.
“We’re planning to more than double our fleet with the initial addition of about 100 new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans,” it reveals, “and we hope the first few will be on the road by the end of this year.”
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The post points out that this is Google’s first ever direct collaboration with an automaker. This isn’t merely a case of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) providing a fleet of pre-existing minivans, either. FCA will tweak the design of its minivan to help incorporate Google’s self-driving systems.
You may wonder why Google is going for a minivan here. Surely a Fiat 500 is altogether Googlier? “The minivan design also gives us an opportunity to test a larger vehicle that could be easier for passengers to enter and exit, particularly with features like hands-free sliding doors,” explains Google.
Google says that it will be collaborating closely with FCA engineers over the coming months.